Scalise Says No Decisions Yet On DACA

KENNER, La. (AP) — House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said there are no final decisions on the fate of a program that shields young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

But the Louisiana congressman says top leaders — both Republican and Democrat — have been negotiating for months over immigration issues including the program and he is hopeful they "can get this resolved soon."

"There are no final decisions but I know that the White House and all of our house and senate leadership both Republican and Democrat have been negotiating for months over immigration in general starting with border security, building the wall, addressing DACA. So all of that is on the table and being negotiated," Scalise said.

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President Donald Trump last year ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shielded more than 700,000 people from deportation and gave them the right to work legally in the country. Trump gave Congress until March to find a fix.

"Hopefully we can get this resolved soon. I think the framework is there and the president is fully engaged," he said.

Scalise spoke Saturday night at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport after attending a retreat at Camp David in which Trump, top Republican lawmakers and select Cabinet members discussed their agenda.

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Wearing a jacket emblazoned with the Camp David seal, Scalise said the retreat was "really upbeat" and said that being invited to "such an historic place was an honor."

"We all came to the table with ideas of what we want to achieve and the president had his own ideas and frankly we were on the same page on a lot of big issues. But we also know there are some tough issues that are still facing the country," Scalise said.

He praised a provision in the major tax overhaul signed into law late last year that will allow Louisiana to keep a greater amount of money from offshore oil drilling in the Gulf. Scalise said the changes would lift a cap on how much money the three Gulf states — Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi — can eventually get from the drilling from $500 million a year to $650 million. Scalise said that could eventually translate into $100 million in revenue for Louisiana — money that's intended for coastal restoration efforts.

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-By Rebecca Santana, Associated Press

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